NRCS grant funding cycle: ACEP-ALE FY17 applications

The Natural Resources Conservation Service announced application materials for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP-ALE) in FY17. There are two (2) ranking tools this year, one for General ALE applications and the other is for Sage Grouse and Lesser Prairie Chicken as they had last year. This ranking tool has “At-Risk Species” at the top of it.  The General ALE applications will be ranked against each other and the At-Risk Species applications will be ranked against each other as well, make sure you use the correct ranking tool for your application. Click here for more information about the ACEP-ALE program and to get all your application materials. The deadline for submission is Friday, January 20th. 

Conservation Easements: Keeping Colorado, Colorado

Photo courtesy of the Trinchera Blanca Foundation.

Photo courtesy of the Trinchera Blanca Foundation.

Blog post by Amanda Barker, Executive Director, Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts

Colorado has a rich, proud heritage of working landscapes. Our productive farms, ranches, and abundant natural resources stretch from our prairie vistas to our mountain peaks. Coloradans – natives and newcomers, alike – are proud of our lands and we overwhelmingly support protecting them.

These working lands have drawn people to Colorado for hundreds of years and they will continue to do so for many years to come. But our state’s continued growth has led to an important balancing act between development and maintaining what makes Colorado, Colorado.

As Coloradans know, our state continues to grow. By 2050, the population is expected to exceed 9 million, nearly doubling the current number of residents and putting more pressure on our land and water. These pressures threaten the viability of our farms and ranches as well as iconic landscapes and scenic places. We see those threats becoming realities as family farms and ranches are sold into development, or lost due to financial hardships. 

There are, however, tools to protect our lands and our heritage. One of those tools is the conservation easement. It is an important tool for some, not all, landowners interested in preserving their private property rights and continuing a family legacy, or to protect natural areas. Private property rights mean that all landowners have the ability to do with their land and water as they wish, subject to applicable laws. As the Executive Director of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, we and the entire land trust community, are thrilled that private landowners across Colorado have generously conserved their properties for continued agriculture, wildlife habitat, and signature views using conservation easements. Members of CCLT have worked to protect nearly 2 million acres of land, keeping these lands productive and intact.

Conservation easements appeals to many of Colorado’s landowners with a voluntary and non-regulatory approach to keeping working lands working. Yet, conservation easements protect more than just the land – they help keep water on the land and in the region, too. This is an incredibly significant benefit as Colorado’s growth puts increasing demands on our water supply that is becoming scarcer. In addition to protecting water supplies, conservation easements provide tremendous economic value by supporting local economies, preserving important wildlife habitat for thousands of game and non-game species, and attracting tourists year-round.

Iconic properties with conservation easements like Greenland Ranch, Trinchera Blanca Ranch and the Hutchinson Ranch help balance urban sprawl, protect entire landscapes and enable farmers and ranchers to pass down their operations to the next generation. These conserved lands have worked to keep Colorado, Colorado ­– and these lands will be forever protected regardless of future growth. Conservation easements play an important role in shaping Colorado’s future.

GOCO awards $33.2 million to get kids outside, build trails, and conserve and restore land

DENVER – The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board awarded $33.2 million in grants across the state of Colorado, $13.5 million of which is part of the Inspire Initiative to get kids outside.

Six Inspire pilots were awarded funding to community- and youth-led coalitions to invest in places, programs, and pathways to that will make the outdoors more accessible for Colorado families.

All three pillars of GOCO’s five-year strategic plan awarded funding this round, with the Protect and Connect initiatives also announcing grants.

The Protect Initiative invests in large-scale, once-in-a-lifetime land conservation opportunities in Colorado and funded four more projects this grant cycle. The Connect Initiative, which aims to close trail gaps and increase foot and bike access for Coloradans, awarded its first round of planning grants to help municipalities navigate the complicated design and engineering process of trail building.

The open space grant program awarded funding to 10 projects that will sustain local agriculture and economies, give outdoor recreationists a place to play (or simply enjoy the view), protect wildlife habitat, and safeguard the state’s water supply.

The transaction costs grant program also awarded funding to help landowners place conservation easements on their land. To be eligible for the program, landowners are required to donate the entire value of the conservation easement for the project.

GOCO funded grants through its habitat restoration grant program, which funds projects that manage invasive species, protect Colorado’s water supply, mitigate fire fuels, and perform other critical restoration work.

GOCO also awarded Youth Corps funding through the Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA), a statewide coalition of nine accredited youth corps groups that engage and train youth, young adults, and veterans (ages 16-25) to work on land, water, and energy conservation projects.

Corps members earn a stipend for their full-time service and an AmeriCorps education award to use toward college or trade school. The organization serves 1,700 young people annually.

In total, GOCO funding will:

  • Fund 63 projects in 35 counties

  • Help nearly 42,000 kids get outside in six Inspire Initiative pilot communities

  • Employ 175 youth through the Colorado Youth Corps Association

  • Restore 663 acres of habitat

  • Conserve 97,289 acres of land, including critical wildlife habitat, productive agricultural land, scenic views, and outdoor recreation access

  • Leverage $47 million in local match dollars and $17 million in donated land value

Funded projects are listed in alphabetical order by grant program. Click here to read the full press release>>


Carbondale to Crested Butte Trail Plan, $100,000 grant to Pitkin County

City of Fort Morgan Trail Master Plan, $100,000 grant to the City of Fort Morgan

Clear Creek Greenway: East Idaho Springs Planning, $100,000 grant to the City of Idaho Springs in partnership with the Clear Creek Greenway Authority (CCGA)

Complete the Ring Planning Project: $100,000 grant to the City of Colorado Springs in partnership with the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC)

Delta County Trails Master Plan, $100,000 grant to Delta County

Evergreen North Lake Trail Planning Project, $100,000 grant to Evergreen Park and Recreation District (EVPRD)

Greenhorn Valley Trails Master Plan, $73,000 grant to Colorado City Metro District

LoVa Trail Phase III, $75,000 grant to the City of Glenwood Springs

Namaqua Trail Underpass, $97,000 grant to the City of Loveland

Palisade Plunge, $90,000 grant to the Town of Palisade

Wildcat Trail, $65,000 grant to Thompson Rivers Parks and Recreation District (TRPRD)


Elkhorn Creek Forest Restoration, $75,584 grant to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in partnership with the Elkhorn Creek Forest Health Initiative

Jones Park Bear Creek Greenback Cutthroat Trout Habitat Restoration Project, $75,000 grant to El Paso County

Las Colonias Park Riparian Restoration, $29,400 grant to the City of Grand Junction

North St. Vrain Creek Restoration in Button Rock Preserve, $60,000 grant to the City of Longmont

Poudre River and Floodplain Habitat Restoration at Kingfisher Point, $100,000 grant to the City of Fort Collins

Prewitt Wetlands Enhancement, $109,658 grant to Colorado Open Lands in partnership with Ducks Unlimited

Rio Grande State Wildlife Area Restoration and Protection Project: Phase 1, $25,000 grant to Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Swift Ponds Russian Olive Removal and Noxious Weed Eradication, $24,890 grant to Colorado Open Lands in partnership with Colorado Youth Outdoors


Get Outdoors Leadville, $3 million grant to Lake County

Nature Kids/Jovenes de la Naturaleza, $2.8 million grant to the City of Lafayette

My Outdoor Colorado, $2.7 million grant to the City and County of Denver

Go Wild NE Metro, $2.7 million grant to the cities of Aurora, Commerce City, and the City and County of Denver

Inspire Lamar, $1.3 million grant to the City of Lamar

San Luis Valley Inspire, $1 million grant to the towns of Antonito, Crestone, and Saguache


Baker’s Peak Ranch Conservation Easement Project, $625,000 to Colorado Open Lands in partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Doig Homestead Open Space, $675,000 grant to Summit County

Farmland Acquisition, $487,690 grant to the City of Brighton (partial award)

Johnson Ranch - Glade Park, $308,500 grant to Mesa Land Trust

La Garita Creek Ranch Conservation Easement, $376,500 grant to Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT)

Maverick Ranch, $1,056,000 grant to The Trust for Public Land (TPL)

North Floyd Hill, $545,000 grant to The Trust for Public Land (TPL), in partnership with Mountain Area Land Trust (MALT)

Poudre Valley Community Farms: A Pilot Project for Community Investment in Local Food, $639,750 grant to Colorado Open Lands (COL)

Sunfire Ranch, $1 million grant to Pitkin County

The Nature Center at Butler Corner, $264,560 grant to Montezuma Land Conservancy

Yust Ranch, $697,000 grant to The Conservation Fund


Agate Prairie Conservation Legacy, $2.14 million grant to Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust in partnership with The Trust for Public Land and The Nature Conservancy

Buckley Air Force Base (AFB) Compatible Use Buffer, $3 million grant to The Trust for Public Land in partnership with the City of Aurora and Arapahoe County

Southeast Colorado Prairie Canyonlands Conservation Project, $2.647 million grant to Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust in partnership with The Nature Conservancy

Willow Bay Acquisition, $3 million grant to Adams County


Badger Creek Conservation Easement, $39,800 grant to Central Colorado Conservancy (CCC), formerly Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas (LTUA)

Barr Farm Conservation Easement, $27,500 grant to Colorado Open Lands (COL)

McLeod Conservation Easement, $39,000 grant to Mesa Land Trust (MLT)

Menoken Farm Conservation Easement, $47,600 grant to Mesa Land Trust (MLT)

Ranch on the Uncompahgre River, $38,700 grant to Gunnison Ranchland Conservation Legacy (GRCL) in partnership with Colorado Open Lands (COL)

Ranch on the Yampa River, $31,468 grant to Colorado Open Lands (COL)

Schultz Elk & Cattle Ranch, $50,000 grant to Montezuma Land Conservancy (MLC)


Baxter Gulch Trail and Crested Butte Open Space Stewardship, $25,200 to the Town of Crested Butte

Black Forest Area Trails and Forest Restoration, $45,000 to El Paso County

Cerise Park Open Space Invasive Weed Management, $13,800 to the City of Montrose

City of Greeley Natural Area Improvement, $41,700 to the City of Greeley

Duckett Creek Ranch Fire Mitigation and Wildlife Habitat Enhancement, $22,500 to San Isabel Land Protection Trust

Hermit Park Open Space New Trail Construction, $40,200 to Larimer County Dept. of Natural Resources

Intemann Trail Fire Mitigation Project, $30,000 to City of Manitou Springs

John Griffin Regional Park Tamarisk and Russian Olive Abatement, $30,000 to Canon City Area Rec and Park District

Las Colonias Park Riparian Area, $17,550 to the City of Grand Junction

Montezuma School to Farm Manaugh Garden Project and Ohana Kuleana Community Garden, $25,200 to the City of Cortez

Phantom Canyon Preserve River Trail, $37,800 to The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Spring Creek Park Maintenance and Mitigation, $26,400 to the Town of Brookside

Spring Creek Trail Restoration, $12,150 to the City of Steamboat Springs

Swallowtail and Ringtail Trail Corridor, $27,600 grant to Douglas County Open Space

Swift Ponds Russian Olive Removal and Noxious Weed Management, $41,700 to Colorado Open Lands (COL)

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a Constitutional Amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 4,700 projects in urban and rural areas in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support. Visit for more information.

USFS - RFP for Forest and Open Space Program

The USFS is soliciting proposals once again for the community forest and open space program.  Mark Martin is the regional point of contact ( These grants go directly to communities, counties, non-profits and tribes. This program funds the acquisition of forests for community education, recreation, and demonstration purposes.  Program information is hyperlinked below. The deadline for Colorado State Forester endorsement (Colorado State Forest Service) is January 13th.  

Celebrate America's Byways 25th Anniversary with a Scenic Fall Drive

Photo by Cathy Edwards ~ Douglas Pass aspens on the Dinosaur Diamond National Scenic and Prehistoric Byway.

Photo by Cathy Edwards ~ Douglas Pass aspens on the Dinosaur Diamond National Scenic and Prehistoric Byway.

Denver, CO, August 29, 2016  -  September is a favorite time of year to head out on a scenic drive and admire the Rocky Mountain's quaking aspen fall colors. While enjoying your drive, also celebrate that 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the National Scenic Byways Program created through the federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991. 

Our state offers an outstanding collection of 26 Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways, including 11 America's Byways®, 2 All-American Roads, 10 National Forest Scenic Byways, and 2 Bureau of Land Management National Back Country Byways. America's Byways® is the umbrella term used for the national collection of 150 distinct and diverse roads designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. 

To make things a little easier, Colorado Byways is collaborating with MyScenicDrives to provide more information for travelers. MyScenicDrives includes a feature to showcase electrical vehicle charging stations and help people plan when they might need a pit stop. The company also offers a road-trip planner that allows users to create an itinerary which can be printed or exported to a GPS device. Recently, MyScenicDrives has uploaded Guanella Pass and Cache la Poudre-North Park Byway to Colorado’s collection of Scenic Drives. Additionally, the Colorado Department of Transportation furnishes a Bicycling and Scenic Byways map which can be ordered online or picked up at a Colorado Welcome Center.

And since the earliest days of the automobile, driving for pleasure has always been one of America's most popular outdoor recreational pursuits. In more recent history, Coloradans and visitors also pursue bicycling byways as part of their recreational pursuit. That’s important, because Colorado Byways take us to outstanding historic and recreation destinations throughout the State, get us up close and personal with our unique environments, and remind us of our heritage.

For more information about the Scenic and Historic Byways, visit


Colorado's breathtaking scenic landscape boasts 26 scenic and historic byways, 42 state parks, 12 national parks and monuments, 58 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet, 20 main street communities, 18 creative districts, and 3 national heritage areas.

Great Outdoors Colorado - Habitat Restoration Grant Program

GOCO is pleased to announce our 2016 Habitat Restoration grant program which aims to improve and restore Colorado's rivers, streams, wetlands, and critical habitat, with $500,000 in available funding. Previous habitat restoration grants targeted riparian habitat, but the current program includes all types of ecosystem restoration and enhancement, from forests and grasslands to rivers and wetlands. If you are considering applying for one of these grants, please review the information provided here, including the application instructions linked on that page. Applications are available by request.

Please contact Chris Yuan-Farrell at or 303-226-4511 to discuss your project and request an application. Applications are due September 23, 2016, and the GOCO Board will make award decisions on December 8, 2016.

Conservation gives landowning families a choice

By Erik Glenn and Jordan Vana

This reprints a guest column in the Sterling Journal-Advocate.
POSTED 06/08/2016 07:02:09 AM MDT

Erik and Jordan are board members of the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts.

Like much of Colorado, the Eastern Plains has a rich heritage of productive farms and ranches, many of which have been owned and operated by the same families for generations. These working lands grow our food, provide habitat for wildlife, and give residents and visitors spectacular views of Colorado's treasured landscapes.

These working lands face mounting pressures as Colorado's population continues to grow. By 2050, experts predict that more than 9 million people will call Colorado home, nearly doubling our current population and forcing landowning families and communities to make tough choices when it comes to land and water.

Polls show that Coloradans consistently and overwhelmingly support the conservation of natural resources, including private lands and ever-diminishing water supplies. Landowning families who voluntarily choose to conserve these resources generously help to safeguard the quality of life we all enjoy.

Conservation easements are one tool that landowning families can use to carry on their agricultural heritage and the countless benefits it provides for all Coloradans. For some, conservation easements make sense. For others, they do not. But we understand and respect that it remains the right of the landowning family to make that decision.

We understand that there have been issues and challenges with the conservation easement program in the past. Those issues have caused some landowners undue hardship and have made other landowners suspicious of conservation easements. We don't begrudge anyone for having legitimate questions. In fact, we appreciate the questions and believe that it creates an opportunity for a productive dialogue. However, we don't want to see a critical tool for ag land conservation and rural community stability to be dismissed because of misconception and misinformation.

The issues that have challenged the conservation easement program and landowners in the past have been resolved. Legislation passed in 2013 (at the request of the land trust community) prevents the state from challenging new conservation easement tax credits after they have been claimed. This provides important certainty to landowning families and will prevent a repeat of the past problems.

Land and water conservation are vital to ensuring that Colorado continues to be defined by its working ag landscapes, natural beauty and western heritage. From the Eastern Plains to the Western Slope, Colorado's land trusts look forward to working alongside landowners as they consider conservation as an option for themselves and their families.

For more information, please visit the Colorado Coalition of Land Trust's website at, the Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust website at, and Colorado Open Lands' website at

Erik Glenn and Jordan Vana represent the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts, Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust, and Colorado Open Lands.

Bob Randall new head of Colorado DNR

On June 6, 2016, Governor Hickenlooper appointed Bob Randall the executive director of the Department of Natural Resources after being the interim ED since February. He is a good friend to the Colorado land conservation community, and we look forward to working more with him in the future. Read the full press release below.

Office of Gov. John Hickenlooper

Kathy Green | | 303-550-9276
Todd Hartman | | 303-513-3639

Gov. Hickenlooper appoints Bob Randall as executive director of Dept. of Natural Resources

DENVER — Monday, June 6, 2016 — Gov. John Hickenlooper today announced the appointment of Bob Randall as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. Randall has served as the interim director of the department since February 2016.

“Bob’s record of outstanding strategic decision making and his remarkable ability to work collaboratively with the diverse interests at DNR make him uniquely qualified for the job,” said Hickenlooper.  “With 20 years of experience in the field, he has proven to be an exemplary and committed steward of Colorado’s natural resources. We look forward to continuing the good work.”

Prior to the interim Randall was responsible for advising the executive director on the development and execution of the Department's policy, legislative, operational and communications initiatives and has played instrumental roles in numerous DNR projects, ranging from new regulatory standards at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to shaping Colorado’s approach to natural resource management on federal lands. director role, Randall served as the deputy executive director since 2010, and assumed the additional role of chief operations officer in 2014.

“I am honored and humbled by this opportunity, and am privileged to work alongside a remarkable staff of professionals throughout the entire Department, the people who are at the heart of our agency’s success,” Randall said. “I’m excited to carry on with the important work we do to manage and protect Colorado’s natural resources for people today and those who will depend upon the legacy we leave.”

Prior to joining the state, Randall served as a staff attorney for Western Resource Advocates and for Trustees for Alaska.

He serves on multiple boards including the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board, Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs and the Natural Resources Damages Trustees Council.

Randall earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri and a Juris Doctor from Lewis & Clark, Northwestern School of Law.

The appointment is effective immediately.


Colorado Forest Legacy Program - Now Accepting Applications


Federal Fiscal Year 2018 FundingThe Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) is accepting Forest Legacy Program (FLP) proposals from Colorado landowners. The program authorizes the CSFS or USDA Forest Service to purchase permanent conservation easements on private forestlands to prevent those lands from being converted to non-forest uses.

The program provides an opportunity for private landowners to retain ownership and management of their land, while receiving compensation for unrealized development rights. More about the Forest Legacy Program.

Application Deadline
Applications must be received by mail no later than 4 p.m. on Friday, July 29, 2016.

Colorado FLP Application Packet for 2018 Funds
Application and Instructions (122 KB PDF)

Seminar with IRS: Valuation of Donated Real Estate, Including CE's

The IRS will be in the Denver Metropolitan Area
to present 1 of only 2 National Offerings of the IRS Seminar in 2016

Valuation of Donated Real Estate,
Including Conservation Easements

August 18, 2016
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Ramada Plaza Denver North
10 E. 120th Avenue, Thornton, CO80216

Sponsored by: Northern Colorado Association of Real Estate Appraisers “NCAREA”

  • The Law – Federal Tax Code and Regulations related to Real Estate Donations
  • Valuing Interests in Real Property
  • Market Analysis/Highest & Best Use
  • Responsibilities of Appraiser, Taxpayer, and Charity in completing IRS Form 8283
  • Mock Testimony presentation in the afternoon with Cross Examination and Re-direct of Expert Witness Real Property Appraiser in Tax Court
  • Q and A with IRS lawyers and IRS appraisers         

Read learning objectives and full list of topics here.


  • Lou Garone, MRA,SRA,AI-GRS, IRS Senior Appraiser, LB&I
  • Katheryn Houston, IRS, Director of Field Operations North Central
  • Mary Greco, IRS, Territory Manager, Large Business and International (LB&I)
  • Sara Barkley, IRS, Manager, Office of Chief Counsel
  • Miles Fuller, IRS, Senior Counsel, Small Business/Self Employed (SB/SE)
  • Frank Molinari, IRS, SRA, Team Lead LB&I
  • Lee Ormiston, President Colorado Coalition of Appraisers, Educator, Certified General Appraiser

FEE:  $255 (includes electronic seminar handouts, continental breakfast, and lunch)


Click here to register!

Course approved for 8 hours of CE for Colorado Appraisers and Realtors. Course is pending for 8 hours of CLE (Continuing Legal Education) for attorneys.   Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and Wyoming have indicated they will accept this course for 8 hours of continuing Appraiser education (CE) credits.